Friday, July 31, 2009

BlushRadio 14: Think About The Good Times

Baby Washington – Think About The Good Times

Barbara Lynn – I’m A Good Woman

Buddy Bailey and the Clovers – It’s All In The Game

Ella Fitzgerald – Get Ready

Ellie West – I Want It All

Ike & Tina Turner – Can’t Chance A Break Up

Lou Rawls – I Fell In Love

Mary "B" – Something For You, Baby

O.V. Wright – Love The Way You Love

The Hill Sisters – Just In Case

The O’Jays – Lipstick Traces (On A Cigarette)

Right, now where were we? Sorry for the gap between BlushRadio 13 and 14, Ed and I have been suffering from podcaster’s block. Any road, we’re back with another selection and there are some top sounds to be found here and I hope that you like it. I’m going to spare you my thoughts on every track but would love to hear what you think.

I should also tell you that we have been playing at a new night up in London. It’s called Towerfull o’ Soul and is held in the basement of the River Bar on Tower Bridge Road. I am playing with longtime friend of the Blush Organisation, the Major and Ginger Dave and we will be joined by a stellar guest or two each and every time. We had the second one earlier this month and it was a really good night with a fantastic turnout. The next one is on Friday 18th September, more details as we get closer to the night.



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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Big Mama Thornton - Hound Dog

Big Mama Thornton with Buddy Guy, what's not to like?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Record Store Day

Tomorrow (Saturday April 19th) is Record Store Day. My town has lost two independent record shops in the last year or so and we have nowhere to buy new releases on lovely, shiny, black, vinyl anymore. Why not treat yourself and the record dealer of your choice by patronising their establishment tomorrow and enriching both of your lives.

Friday, April 04, 2008

BlushRadio 13 - Girls Girls Girls

Sorry there's been a bit of a gap between the podcasts - both of us have been really busy over the last couple of months.

We're back now with an all girl edition - hope you enjoy it, let us know what you think!

The Apollas - Mr Creator
I'm starting us off with one of my very favourite Girl Group records. Billie Barnum, Leola Jiles, and Ella Jamerson had recorded quite a number of really nice tunes on the Warner subsidiary label Loma before recording this one on the Warner label which I think is the best of the lot. I don't know of any collections of their Loma/Warner singles, but you can at least find this on on this CD.

Mary Wells - My World Is Empty Without You
The first of this time's LP tracks, this is taken from Mary Wells' post-Motown LP "Two Sides of Mary Wells" and struck me as a very interesting version of one of my favourite Supremes songs. The entire first side of this LP is made up of covers of soul tunes, several of them also worth a listen - the version of Satisfaction drawing mostly on Otis Redding for inspiration is also very enjoyable. That same first side of the LP is present on this collection of her sessions for Atco.

Dynettes - New Guy
Not for the last time, I have to admit that I know next to nothing about this record other than that it's great girl group R&B. It's on the Constellation label from Chicago and judging by the credits on the label does come with some pedigree, being produced by Bill 'Bunky' Sheppard and written and arranged by Maurice Williams (who I think is the same Maurice Williams of Zodiacs and 'Stay' fame). There is a compilation of releases on Constellation available here that should be worth a listen.

Dixie Cups - People Say
Our next tune is from one of the biggest names of the girl group scene. The Dixie Cups (Barbara & Rosa Lee Hawkins and their cousin Joan Johnson) started out as Little Miss & the Muffets, although they changed their name before releasing any records. Their first release, "Chapel of Love" turned out to be their biggest hit but they released many other great tunes and both "People Say" and "Iko Iko" are great favourites around these parts. There are quite a few compilations of their work around, but this one is a good place to start.

Ila Van - Can't Help Loving That Man Of Mine
Another record I don't know a huge amount about, although it does come in a very nice picture sleeve! It's a very enjoyable upbeat and poppy version of "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man" from Showboat. You can find a copy of it on volume 5 of the excellent Talcum Soul series of compilations.

Miss D.D. Phillips - Hey Little Girl
Another great, uplifting pop song that show very clearly the bittersweet qualities that are a vital part of all the best girl-group songs. The contrast between lyrics and music is a real treat for me. I'm afraid I can't tell you much about her, though!

Mary Love - Satisfied Feeling
The great Mary Love recorded more fantastic soul sides than I can shake a stick at. This one is a little overlooked as it lives on the other side of her beautiful ballad "Baby I'll Come". Both her date of birth and even her birth name are the subjects of some confusion but what is known is that she was born in Sacremento, California and was discovered by Sam Cook's manager, J.W. Alexander. Her many great sides on the Modern label have appeared on a number of CDs on the Kent label, which I'd highly recommend.

Jeanette Williams - Stuff
This one stands out as quite a bit funkier than the rest of this time's podcast. That should come as no great surprise since it was both written and produced by Andre Williams, so good sleazy fun is guaranteed!

Velvelettes - Since You've Been Loving Me
Never the most successful of the girl groups on the Motown roster, the Velvelettes are still one of my favourites - they must have been very highly regarded locally in their day too, since they once famously beat the Supremes in a Battles of the Bands. They're probably best known for their early recordings with Norman Whitfield, "Needle In A Haystack" and "He Was Really Saying Something" in particular. This one is taken from a bit later in their career, being the flip side of "These Things Will Keep Me Loving You". It's still produced by Whitfield, and written by Eddie Holland and Marv Johnson - quite a pedigree! There is a great 2-CD collection of their work available which really shows what a wealth of great recordings they made, and even gives you a chance to hear that Battle of the Bands performance!

Cindy Gibson - I'll Always Love You
Another I know almost nothing about I'm afraid. This one is on the General label from Philadelphia, but if anyone can let me know any more about it I'd be very interested!

Peaches - Music To My Ears
A nice upbeat, uplifting tune once again on the Constellation label. This one is co-produced by Gene Chandler, the Duke of Earl himself, so hardly surprising it has a bit of a swagger about it!

Flirtations - Stay
I'll finish us off with another LP track, this beautiful tune comes from the Flirtations' "Sounds Like the Flirtations" LP on Deram. The album is stuffed full of gems - not least the ever popular "Nothing But a Heartache", but this relatively overlooked gem is well worth a listen too.

I hope you've enjoyed this as much is I did putting it together - hopefully not such a long wait until the next one!
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Friday, March 21, 2008

PP Arnold - The First Cut Is The Deepest

Both Ed and I are working on podcasts at the moment and we hope to have the fruit of our labours on here in the next couple of weeks. To tied you over until then we have a clip of the gorgeous PP Arnold. There's a great reggae version of this track by Norma Frazer on the Soul Jazz album Studio One Soul which I highly recommend.

I've added a load of new links, check them out because there's some corkers there.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Evie Sands - I Can't Let Go

Continuing our love in with the unluckiest woman in the history of music, check out this fantastic clip of Evie performing I Can't Let Go.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Motor City's Burning: Detroit from Motown to the Stooges

There was a fantastic documentary about 60's Detroit on BBC4 last night, if you are quick you can catch it on the BBC iPlayer. Sadly, the Marvin Gaye documentary that preceded it hasn't been put up but they are showing Standing In The Shadows Of Motown and the an episode of the fantastic Soul Deep tonight.

Friday, February 08, 2008

BlushRadio 12: Too Much Of A Good Thing

We interrupt this podcast to bring you a shameless plug from the Blush Organisation. On 23rd February Ed and I will be playing a new night in Canterbury called Barefootin’. Here are the details:

Saturday 23rd February

Scribes, King Street, Canterbury

7pm – 1am

Admission free

A map of where to find us can be found here.

Now back to the podcast.

Wilbert Harrison – Let’s Stick Together

Everybody should know this song from Bryan Ferry’s cover but the original is not heard anywhere near enough. The song was reworked as Let’s Work Together and was a big hit a couple of years after this but this is the version that counts.

Jimmy James and the Vagabonds – Ain’t Love Good, Ain’t Love Proud

The original of this track was by Tony Clarke but this is the one for me. Jimmy James was originally from Jamaica but moved to the UK, along with the Vagabonds, in the mid-sixties. Like Geno Washington, who also relocated here, Jimmy James played US R&B and soul to adoring British audiences hungry to hear the music live. Jimmy James and the Vagabonds played with and borrowed equipment from the Who early in their career and what a great night out that must have been.

Linda Jones – I Can’t Stop Loving My Baby

Linda Jones was born in 1944 in Newark, New Jersey. She released her early records under the name Linda Lane and recorded for Cub, Atco and Blue Cat before moving to Loma in 1967. This track is the flip of her biggest hit Hypnotized which narrowly missed out on the US top 20. Linda sadly died backstage at the Apollo in New York in 1972 after a diabetic attack.

Honey and the Bees – Help Me

Honey and the Bees came from Philadelphia comprised of Nadine Felder, Jean Davis, Gwendolyn Oliver and Cassandra "Ann" Wooten and were originally known as the Yum Yums. They joined Josie in 1970 and found themselves touring with James Brown in the early seventies. This is great girl group soul and to these ears sounds a lot earlier than when it was recorded. They went on to record a number of great tracks on Artic, the most sought after of which is probably Love Addict which is featured on the fantastic Sister Funk 2.

The Shirelles – Too Much Of A Good Thing

I featured the Shirelles in BlushRadio Volume 3. This is a track I have been playing out ever since I first got into soul and the slightly out of tune backing vocals really make this track for me. Everyone should make some room in their collection for the Shirelles and this would be a great place to start.

Jessie Hill – Whip It On Me

Jessie Hill was born in New Orleans in 1932 and is probably best known for Ooh Poo Pah Doo. He was a drummer for Professor Longhair and Huey “Piano” Smith in the 50’s before forming the House Rockers in 1958. This track is a great r&b dancer and look out for the cracking saucy backing vocals.

Cecil Garrett & the Fascinations – Bearcat Pt 1

I know little about the track or the Cecil Garrett but I was turned onto it by Martin Lawrie’s excellent Soul Generation, be sure to check out Martin’s new Titty Shakers website for the utmost in sleazy sounds.

Dean Parrish – Tell Her

Dean Parrish’s I’m On May Way was famously the last record played at the Wigan Casino. One of the most successful blue eyed soul singers, he had hits with ‘I’m On My Way’, ‘Tell Her’, ‘Determination’, ‘Skate’ and the fantastic ‘Bricks, Broken Bottles and Sticks’. Dean is still going strong today and his website is well worth checking out.

Barbara Randolph – Can I Get A Witness

I love this cover of the Marvin Gaye classic, probably not quite as much as the original but the percussion and funky soul vibe fit the song well. She was in line to replace Florence Ballard in The Supremes in 1967 but Diana Ross rejected the idea and instead she signed as with Motown as a solo artist. She is probably best known for her 1968 version of the classic Holland-Dozier-Holland track I Got A Feeling which went on to be a huge track on the northern scene. She sadly died in South Africa in 2002.

The Raeletts – Leave My Man (Woman) Alone

Ray Charles’ backing singers need no introduction and featured in the first BlushRadio podcast . This is a heavy, hard soul number and if I was the woman in question I would heed the warning.

Anyway, I hope that you have enjoyed Volume 12 of BlushRadio and that we see some of you along at Barefootin' on 23rd February. Keep the faith.

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

BlushRadio 11 - Too Poor To Die

A bit of a mixed bag this time out, once again including a couple of LP tracks - hope you enjoy them! Without further ado, the tunes:

Evie Sands - I Can't Let Go
In terms of scoring hit records, Evie Sands must have been one of the unluckiest singers in history. Her first side for Blue Cat (the wonderful "Take Me For A Little While") was on the verge of being a major hit when its thunder was thoroughly stolen by the release of a cover by Jackie Ross (also a good record, to be fair). This great track was released later in 1965 and managed to sink pretty much without trace - until a cover by the Hollies became a huge hit. That, once again, is a really good record - but for me Evie's original knocks spots off it. She even had a similar experience with the (once again excellent) "Angel of the Morning" on Cameo before finally scoring a hit in her own right with "Any Way That You Want Me" in 1969. "I Can't Let Go" isn't on her own CD albums, but it is on this nice Red Bird/Blue Cat compilation. Evie Sands is happily still an active performer with an online presence of her own - check her out here!

Jackie Wilson - Somebody Up There Likes You
The first of this time's LP tracks, from the classic "Higher and Higher" LP. Of course, you don't need me to tell you that Jackie Wilson was one of the all-time greats - or that the title track of this LP is one of the greatest singles ever made. But that can tend to mean that some of the other tremendous tracks it has to offer get a bit overlooked, like this little beauty! Jackie's voice swoops and soars at its best on a fantastically uplifting song. The CD release of this album is no longer on general release, but you can usually find on here.

Marvelettes - Your Cheating Ways
The Marvelettes, like Jackie Wilson Before them, need no introduction. This track's a great example of the importance of always playing the B-side, though - a return to the Principle One of earlier podcasts! This great little song is hidden away on the flip side of "Danger Heartbreak Dead Ahead" and goes to show just how many great tunes Hitsville USA was turning out at this point in time. Although the Marvelettes have been well compiled on CD, their B-sides aren't so easy to get. You'll find it on this compilation if you can track a copy down, but it will probably be easier and cheaper to buy the 45!

Malibus - Ten Times A Day
I have to start by saying I just love the Sure-Shot label design! It's a subsidiary of Don Robey's legendary Duke records from Houston, Texas and very much the soul representative of that family of labels. This particular record is a very nice piece of sweet soul, although I have to admit I don't know all that much about the Malibus themselves.

Charts - Desiree
I've already written something about both the Charts and this re-recording of their original 50's hit way back in podcast number 2. Back then I also promised to put this wonderful A-side of the single in a future podcast, and here it is! You'll find it on this great compilation if you'd like to get hold of a copy.

5th Dimension - Too Poor To Die
This will come as a bit of a surprise to you if, like me, your only knowledge of the 5th Dimension was their hit about the Age of Aquarius... In fact they were already well on their way to being a pop group when this was released - this lovely soulful side is on the flip of their cover of the Mamas and Papas "Go Where You Wanna Go". It's a fine track, though, even if they didn't hang around to repeat it!

David Ruffin - I Don't Know Why I Love You
The second of this podcasts LP tracks, this one is from David Ruffin's often overlooked and underrated second solo Motown LP, Feelin' Good. His gritty, soulful voice is as good as ever on this one - well worth a listen if you've admired his singing with the Temptations but not explored his solo work too much. This collection of his solo work is probably the easiest way to get this track at the moment - Volume 2 is well worth a listen, too.

Billy Prophet - What Can I Do
A bit of a Northern Soul classic, this one, but not an artist I can give you an awful lot of information about, I'm afraid. I did just want to mention, though, that I absolutely love the backing vocals on here - they make the whole song for me. You can find it (and a whole bunch of other really great Northern Soul tunes) on this compilation.

Chiffons - Easy To Love (So Hard To Get)
One of the great girl groups of the early 60's, the Chiffons are probably most famous for their massive international hit "Sweet Talking Guy", and then for their later return to prominence in the 70's due to their legal dispute with George Harrison. This great tune is from the period between those two dates when the Chiffons were still recording but thanks to their sound having fallen out of fashion were receiving very little success. There's a very nice compilation of their recordings available if you'd like to hear more.

Homer Banks - 60 Minutes Of Your Love
Probably better known to most people for his classic "A Lot Of Love", this is another stormer in the same sort of vein from 1966. A really powerful vocal belted out throughout, and a funny and witty lyric. Great stuff! There's a nice collection of his work available - well worth checking out.

Bobby Marchan - Shake Your Tambourine
There's a rather familiar bassline snaking through this one! At least, that's the first thing I noticed about it. In fact, Bobby Marchan had a long and storied career as an R&B band leader and performer. There are several compilations of his work available, but none containing this track as far as I know.

Maxine Brown - Yesterday's Kisses
And, as usual, on to one to let you know it's the end of the set! Maxine Brown is truly one of the legends of soul music. She's recorded so many classy tunes it's hard to know where to begin - "One In A Million" and "One Step At A Time" are also among my favourites. This little gem from 1963 is a fine example of her great recordings on the Wand label. There are several collections of here work, but this is a really good one.

Well, that's all for this time - hope you enjoyed it!

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

BlushRadio 10 - Now You Call Me D-O-G

A bit more of an R&B feel than several of my previous offerings. I thought I'd have a little change this time and stir in a few tracks taken from LPs rather than sticking strictly to singles - love to know if any of these did actually make it out on 45, but either way I hope you'll agree they're great tunes.

Hank Jacobs - Elijah Rockin With Soul
Cracking instrumental - just the sort of tune I like to start a set with! Some very fine piano work on a track I've loved ever since I found it lurking on a compilation album with no other redeeming features. This tune was a classic on the Northern scene long before I even knew there was one, and stands up really well in my book. In keeping with my earlier promise of suggesting places to buy this fine music, there's an extended version of this track on this fine Kent compilation.

Bobby Bland - Sweet Lips Of Joy
This one's from the 'Touch Of The Blues' LP. An absolutely stunning track, and surely one of the world's great voices. Look as I might I can't find a currently available CD with this beauty on, but just listen to it twist and turn! The lyrics are fantastic throughout and the one I pinched for the title of this podcast is one of my all-time favourites.

Tommy Raye - You Don't Love Me
This one was a bit of a bolt from the blue when it turned up as part of a job lot of records I bought recently. I'd known and loved Dawn Penn's 'No No No' for quite some years, but this entirely different version of the same tune was a complete revelation to me! Nice label too, must try to find one without stickers all over it...

Kittens - I Got To Know Him
So, why isn't this one more famous? Produced by the great Johnny Pate(much better known for his work with the Impressions) this is a fine song with a particularly outstanding lead vocal from Bernice Willis.

Williams and Watson - Love Is Such A Funny Thing
From the great "Two For the Price Of One" LP, which surely has one of the coolest sleeves ever seen. I thought this one would make a nice change from the 100mph fun of Too Late, and it's a great and somewhat unusual sounding song in its own right. To the best of my knowledge, this great album isn't out on CD but you can find several of the tracks - including this one - on this retrospective of their Okeh recordings.

Cornell Blakely - Don't Do It
This one's written by William 'Mickey' Stevenson, is a Berry Gordy production and published on Jobete - very much an early Motown-sounding production even if this copy was distributed on via Chicago. I believe its original release was on the Shenita label, but might be wrong about that one. I do know it's a great tune, though!

Eddie Holman - Stay Mine For Heaven's Sake
A really astonishing singer, Eddie Holman is most famous for by far his biggest hit "Hey There Lonely Girl" - a performance that inspired Smokey Robinson to describe him as a man with the voice of an angel, to give some idea of the scale of his accomplishment. He has quite an active presence on the web, so I'll point you towards his own site for more information. This particular mid-tempo beauty has always been a great favourite of mine, and you can find it and much more on this very nice compilation of his work if you'd like to hear more.

Charmettes - Please Don't Kiss Me Again
Well, there may be fewer girl-group sounds than usual on this podcast, but at least the ones that are here are brilliant! It's written and produced by Kenny Young, a bit of a legend in girl-group circles. I really don't know anything about the girls themselves, unfortunately, but you can find this track (and a bunch of other fine girly tunes too) on this rather nice CD.

Albert Washington - Loosen These Pains and Let Me Go
Singing in a wonderful intersection where soul, blues and gospel meet I've thoroughly enjoyed everything I've heard from Albert Washington. He suffered with the complications of diabetes for many years before finally passing away in 1998, but I think the uplifting nature of this and many of his other records show how much optimism of spirit he maintained in the face of a hard life. There's a nice CD collection of his work from this time if you'd like to hear more.

Tyrone Davis - Call On Me
The great Tyrone Davis, best know to me for the stunning "Can I Change My Mind" this is another track taken from the LP of the same name. Discovered working in Chicago nightclubs by the pianist Harold Burrage, he went on to record a string of great soul tunes on the Dakar label. He passed away in 1995 following a stroke, but the music live on and you can hear more of it on this nice Dakar retrospective.

Betty Harris - I'm Evil Tonight
Betty Harris recorded an astonishing number of great records in a relatively short recording career, despite remaining relatively little known. This classic on New Orleans' Sansu label is a lovely slinky, moody song that really draws you into its story. There's a fine article on her career over at Funky 16 Corners, so I'll point you towards it rather than copying their work here - and also point you to this CD if you'd like to hear a bit more.

Well, that's all for this time - more to come in a few weeks!

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